Hedgelink brings together organisations and individuals with a love of hedgerows. We share knowledge and ideas to encourage and inspire everyone to take action to manage, protect and conserve our hedgerows for the future.
What are hedgerows?
Hedgerows can be described simply as a line of woody vegetation (shrubs and trees), often forming a boundary to a field or other feature. There are various forms and styles of hedgerows, including some with distinctive characters that are unique to particular regions. For more information on what makes up a hedgerow, visit our hedgerow components page.
Hedges are a fantastic feature of the British countryside, but also a familiar sight in parks, gardens, allotments and other green spaces. If you walk alongside a hedgerow in the UK, you might spot hawthorn, blackthorn, ash, oak, holly, and other plants and animals.
Why are they so important?
Hedgerows are great for people and nature. The benefits they provide include:
- Food and shelter for wildlife and livestock
- A haven for biodiversity
- Helping tackle climate change
- Beautiful flowers and tasty fruit
- Links with our cultural rural heritage
- Supporting sustainable rural economies and skills
- Reducing flooding and soil erosion
- Protecting people from air pollution
- And many more!
The benefits of hedgerows are starting to be recognised by more people and organisations. Yet, we have lost 50% of our hedgerows since the Second World War and they are still in decline. Clearly, there is still work to do, to ensure we help hedgerows as much as they help us.
What is Hedgelink and what does it do?
Hedgelink is an active partnership that meets regularly and works together in the interests of the UK’s hedgerows. It is made up of individuals and organisations with a particular interest in hedges, including: nature charities, farming organisations, hedgelaying societies, ecologists, universities and researchers, policy-makers and regulators.
A voice for hedgerows – we champion our hedgerows by supporting initiatives like National Hedgerow Week. We hope to inspire and enthuse everyone to take action to protect and conserve our hedgerows for future generations.
Influence – the group includes representatives from government departments and agencies, and one of Hedgelink’s objectives is to help shape key policies that can protect hedgerows and support their expansion.
Collaboration and network-building – Hedgelink includes organisations with interests in farming, wildlife, landscape, and the historical and cultural importance of hedgerows. Hedgelink provides opportunities for joint working with a diverse range of organisations.
Education and knowledge sharing – we aim to help people find out more about hedgerows and how to manage them well. Our Hedge Hub is a brilliant one-stop-shop for hedge resources.
A forum for new research – many of Hedgelink’s member organisations are actively involved in research to help us manage and establish hedgerows better. The group provides a platform for disseminating research findings and sparking new ideas.
How to get involved
Hedgelink is chaired by Jon Stokes (Director of Trees, Science & Research at The Tree Council) and coordinated by Jess Allan (Science & Research Project Manager at The Tree Council).
We often invite guest speakers to our meetings – do get in touch if you have any interesting projects or research to share.
You can get in touch using this contact form.
How Hedgelink can help
While Hedgelink itself does not fund or undertaken hedge management works or research, our member organisations may be able to help and provide expertise. See our list of member organisations here.